Branson hotels rebuild after tornado

BRANSON, Mo. - When an EF-2 tornado ripped through Branson, Mo., two months ago, many of the buildings in its path were hotels.

About two dozen were either damaged or destroyed. While some hotels are nearly ready to reopen, others have a long way to go.

Workers now outnumber guests at the Best Western Center Pointe Inn.

"I think we can be very thankful that it was a time of year when more people weren't here," said Chris Myer, vice president of marketing at Myer Hotels.

The hotel hasn't had any guests since the tornado hit on Feb. 29.

"A small portion of the hotel suffered significant damage, but there was a lot of cosmetic damage," Myer said.

Part of the hotel could open in a couple weeks, but the majority is still a mess.

Even still, Myer remains optimistic.

"The hotel's gonna be better than ever when it's done," he said.

The future is less clear at the Blue Bayou Motor Inn. The owner is still working with his insurance company to figure it out.

At JR's Motor Inn, all that remains is a concrete slab.

But downtown at the Hilton, daredevil crews are hanging high in the sky, putting 3,400 panes of glass in place.

Once they're installed, new furniture and carpet will come in, but it'll be October before the hotel is back open.

"It's almost gonna be like reopening a hotel again," said Bill Durbins, general manager of the Hilton.

Until then, it will take a lot of work to give visitors a place they can rest their heads again.
 

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